“Angle of Repose,” inspired by themes in Wallace Stegner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, will also be the name of the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) 2012-13 season. The quintessential novel of the West asks us to look at where we come from and understand our relationship to the past.
“In musical terms, we are talking about what it feels like to be at the start of a new century with the century just passed still in sight,” said music director Steven Schick. “In each concert, we are illuminating an oppositional relationship, something to do with a cross-generational or historical interaction.”
• The season opens Nov. 3-4 with Maestro Schick conducting the orchestra in a program themed “Hero/Anti-Hero.” Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, “Eroica,” the ultimate heroic piece in the classical repertoire, will be heard along with a dramatic and turbulent work by contemporary composer Missy Mazzoli, “Violent, Violent Sea.” Mazzoli will join LJS&C this West Coast premiere.
Also on the program are two works from 20th-century anti-hero John Cage that are meant more for contemplation than to stir deep and heroic emotions: “101,” for 101 musicians and no conductor; and in honor of the 100th anniversary of Cage’s birth year, his infamous/famous “4’33”, where silence reigns.
“For Cage’s ‘4’33’ we will open the auditorium doors and let the sounds waft in – birds, people talking, leaves rustling – and we will sit and listen carefully. It is amazing what the world sounds like. And then we will start the ‘Eroica’ without a pause,” Schick said. “We arrive at the concert hall these days through a welter of noise: horns, radios, cell phones. But wouldn’t it be fascinating to hear Beethoven out of the quiet that one might have heard 200 years ago?”
• On Dec. 8-9, the theme of “Dark/Bright” offers five different visions of musical color and texture. The program is framed by two works of intense brightness, Handel’s “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” and Brahms’ “Triumphlied” for chorus and orchestra. Three works in the middle contain a framework of their own. Dark orchestral color is heard in Brahms’ “Nänie,” with chorus, and in Luigi Dallapiccola’s “Piccola Musica Notturna” (A Little Night Music). At the center of the program is Arnold Schoenberg’s “Five Pieces for Orchestra,” one of the most colorful pieces of the 20th century.
• The Feb. 9-10 concert, “Inside/Outside,” offers a program of music designed or evocative of both internal and external spaces. The program begins with an intimate work by Ralph Vaughan Williams, “Fantasy on a Theme” by Thomas Tallis, followed by Luciano Berio’s “Folk Songs,” featuring soprano Jessica Aszodi. The concert ends with Scandinavian composer Carl Nielsen’s “Symphony No. 3, Espansiva,” that transports to the wide-open northern spaces of his homeland.